Okay ladies, how many times have you heard/read that a stylist does natural hair only to show up for your appointment and have them treat your hair like it's the enemy? I've been hearing this complaint a lot lately and quite frankly it really makes me frustrated for my natural sisters. I have heard some pretty shocking stories. From one stylist actually putting a texture softener on her natural client's hair (without her knowledge) to stylists complaining and telling their natural clients that they should flat iron their hair more often to make their job easier. It's crazy!? I am writing this post for two reasons. One is to help you in your search to find a natural hair care professional that you'll love, and to help those in the profession become a better match.
I feel I can write this because I am a licensed Natural Hair Care professional, and I have also been the client. (We don't always feel like doing our own hair and would like to be able to trust someone else). I've been exposed on both sides, and as the client I will say it's a little rough out there for us naturals.
As a client, I believe it is important to fully interview the person you are considering for your natural hair care or as your stylists. Just because a person say they "do" natural hair it does not mean that they are willing to do what you want them to. Have you ever inquired about a natural style with your stylists and they proceed to talk you into having your hair flat ironed? How about your wash and detangle? Do they wash your hair in sections or insist on washing your hair as one big mass only to look shocked and confused when your hair end up in a thousand tangles? Yep that happened to me) Or how about them wanting to cut 4 to 5 inches of ends off because they just flat ironed your hair and the ends didn't straighten out like they wanted them to?(yep just chalk it up to having 5 inches of split ends!)
Lord help us. Look, we can prevent a lot of this if we fully interview the stylist before ever booking an appointment. Make them aware of your hair texture and the characteristics of your hair. Make sure they understand what you expect. Ask them about their experience and the different hair types and styles they are accustom to dealing with. Ask them how they wash, detangle, etc. Their responses will help you decided if you should book or not! The time and patience it takes to care for natural hair will vary from client to client. I know this all too well. Some clients I can have in and out and others will take longer depending on the service and their hair type. If you get the sense that your potential stylist isn't listening well then that is a big RED FLAG. They also should be willing to discuss these things with you. Remember this is your hair, and you are a potential "paying" customer .
So here is the Breakdown!
Fully research the stylist's website
Make sure that you have fully reviewed their list of services along with their photo gallery. If a stylists says to you, "I do natural hair" and all you see in their gallery is flat ironed hair and weaved up heads, you should probably ask for specifics and details to make sure that you will be getting what you want.
Place hair care above styling
It helps to seek out a stylist that specialize in natural "healthy hair care ." There are a ton of stylists that can style hair but how will they handle and care for it? If your hair is all damaged in the end was the style really worth it? I had a client share that her head was roughed up so bad once that another stylist in the salon notice the treatment of her hair and called out the natural stylist who was working on her. Her stylist's response was "she knew what she was getting into when she came in here!" Wow?! Please don't ever feel like you have to take that kind of treatment, even if you have to do your own hair until you find someone who will respect you and your hair, do that.
Is the stylist natural?
Check to see if your stylist is natural, and if they are wearing their own hair most of the time. This can help you gauge. Someone who puts a lot of care into their own natural hair will also have more patience and understanding when dealing with yours.
Look for real life referrals and testimonies of people who have visited this particular professional. I know this sounds like a lot but your hair and your wallet will thank you for it! I meet women who have hopped from salon to salon looking for someone who really cares about their hair and they suffer in the process. If you see a natural on the street with nice hair, ask if someone else does her hair. If the answer is yes, ask her as many questions as she will allow you to about her stylist.
The stylist should ask you questions
As a natural hair care professional I make sure that I always consult with my client on some level before I ever lay hands to their heads. I ask them about their history of hair care as well as what they are expecting from their service. I want to make sure they understand what I have to offer, and what I don't offer. This way, neither one of us is disappointed or frustrated. They should want to know certain things about your hair first.
Natural hair care expense
Yes visiting a natural stylist can be expensive for some. Expect that when having a natural stylist do your hair the pricing may vary depending on your length and thickness because that will factor into the amount of time they will be servicing you. I place a price range on certain services on my site, so there are no surprises. It's not cheap to visit most natural salons and I would have to say the prices are probably set this way because some of these services are very time consuming. If you are on a budget do as much of the work your self (i.e. the wash and detangle before coming to the salon), and only book the style. Clarify if the cost to style is separate from the wash. Proper prepping of your own hair can save you time and money.
Have a full blown conversation
If you don't take away anything else, just remember to not leave anything to chance. Ask as many questions as you can think of. Make the stylist have a conversation with you, so that you can get a feel for your compatibility, and this should lesson your chances of a bad experience! And if they don't want to talk in depth with you about these things, I think you better take that as your que!
So that's it! I feel I needed to write this because I hear these complaints so often, hopefully some of these insights will help you in your continued search for a stylist that will respect and love your natural hair.
Well until next time!!